U’s suffer FA Cup humiliation at Chelmsford
Chelmsford City 3 Colchester United 1
COLCHESTER United suffered FA Cup humiliation at the hands of Essex rivals Chelmsford City in front of a capacity crowd at Melbourne Park this afternoon.
A brace from City’s Donovan Simmonds was sufficient to dump the League One U’s out of the Cup at the first hurdle, with Jamie Slabber adding a late third goal.
Michael Rose had pulled a goal back for the U’s with one of his trademark free-kicks to make it 2-1, but it was not enough to save the visitors.
It was no more than the Clarets deserved. The Blue Square South hosts were the better team throughout, and the U’s can certainly have no complaints.
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Simmonds broke the deadlock with the first of his brace in the 23rd minute. He superbly lobbed keeper Mark Cousins from long range to stun the visitors.
And it got worse for Joe Dunne’s men, as they conceded a second goal in the 63rd minute.
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Simmonds was again the executor, nipping in first to head over Cousins, who had advanced well off his line, the ball rolling into an empty net.
The U’s gave themselves a lifeline in the 71st minute, thanks to a marvellous free-kick from Michael Rose, which soared over the defensive wall and into the top corner of the net to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
But Slabber lashed home a late third to seal the U’s fate.
The U’s had looked quite comfortable during the early stages and Jabo Ibehre peppered the target with a header and a bicycle kick inside the first 10 minutes.
A last ditch tackle by defender Justin Miller denied the U’s a likely opener on 15 minutes. Ibehre was on the point of shooting, from Ian Henderson’s lay-off, only to be robbed by the alert Miller just 10 yards from goal.
But the Clarets weathered the storm and thrilled the home fans by taking a 26th minute lead, thanks to a pearler from Simmonds.
That goal visibly shook the U’s confidence, and they were second best for the remainder of the first period.
In fact, they nearly doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Miller’s swerving long-range shot deceived Cousins. The U’s keeper managed to half-block the shot, and then gratefully drop onto the loose ball.
United had a few chances to level, early in the second half, most notably when Anthony Wordsworth was just a whisker away from diverting home Sanchez Watt’s free-kick.
But they were dealt a second blow in the 63rd minute. Simmonds nipped in first to head over the advancing Cousins to double the Clarets’ lead.
Eight minutes later and the U’s halved the deficit, thanks to a wonderful free-kick by Rose.
The visitors then went in search of an equaliser and Ibehre was thwarted by a reaction save from Searle in the 83rd minute. He blocked the striker’s fierce drive with his legs.
But Slabber smashed home Chelmsford’s third in the 89th minute to wrap up a deserved victory.
CHELMSFORD CITY: Searle, Brindley, Palmer, Miller, Clark, Cornhill, Cook, Rainford, Slabber, Simmonds, Welsh (sub Corcoran, 74). Unused subs: Bondon, Calver, Onega, Tann, Whitely, Warren.
COLCHESTER UNITED: Cousins, White, Okuonghae, Eastman, Rose, Bean, Eastmond (sub Morrison, 68), Wordsworth, Henderson (sub Massey, 68), Ibehre, Watt (sub Sears, 60). Unused subs: O’Toole, Bond, Duguid, Pentney.
Referee: Michael Naylor (Sheffield)